Branding can help you retain your patients
Not having a clear set of patient retention strategies negatively affects both patients as well as growth-oriented medical practice leaders. Long-term engagement with a medical practice allows patients to have a doctor who has formed a deep understanding of their medical history, which empowers them to offer a consistent quality of care and treatment. Doctors too prefer to have returning patients since it is expensive to acquire new patients.
Just like with any other business, some patient turnover, caused by them moving away or aging out, is quite normal. It is also possible that some patients only require your service for a short period of time, especially if you are a specialist. However, if you see a constant churn of patients, it might point to a fundamental problem within your medical practice.
In such a scenario, more often than not it is about your branding and marketing, and not the quality of service or care that you provide. This is actually a good thing because improving your branding is not that difficult.
Your branding needs to be authentic
Branding is more than just marketing jargon. It is about presenting your medical practice in a positive light to your prospective patients that is consistent with your natural values. It helps your patients get a sense of the kind of doctor you are, so that they have certain positive expectations leading into their first appointment.
What is it that differentiates your medical practice brand from others? That is what needs to be communicated to your prospective patients. For example, as medical marketing connoisseurs, we choose to brand our digital assets with specific art pieces that we love and which resonate with our core brand message, instead of being like 99.99% of marketers out there using cookie-cutter stock photos of a random group of people dressed as doctors on Shutterstock (although which sometimes just cannot be helped).
We believe the arts have always helped medical practice leaders become more thoughtful and listen carefully to a patient’s narrative of her/his symptoms. This process allows doctors to make a more informed diagnosis. Honest, transparent and direct communication between doctors and patients helps the patient better understand their illness and follow through with their treatment.
Our own branding at Inbound Medic is concentrated towards only attracting a very specific breed of medical practice leaders out there who value art, aesthetics, beauty, meaning, humanity, integrity, a commitment to high standards and a sense of service to a higher purpose.
Are you a fourth-generation optician running an unpretentious family practice? Focus your communication around your pedigree and experience, and highlight the no-frills approach of your medical practice. This will automatically resonate with patients who value simplicity and expertise.
Or, are you a high-end medical practice that delivers a complete package to your patients including pashmina blankets and gourmet meals? Make sure to highlight all the amenities you provide since this will attract the patients who are not just looking for treatment, but also a pampered experience.
Luxurious Patient Amenities At Mt. Sinai’s Eleven West
Peace And Comfort For Patients At Eleven West
When your branding highlights your core differentiation and values, you automatically end up attracting the kind of patients who are a natural fit for your practice. In turn, by fulfilling the needs they have from their healthcare provider you make sure that they keep coming back.
Maintain consistency across all your communication
Once you have zeroed in on the traits that differentiate your medical practice, you need to ensure that you communicate them in all your medical marketing assets. The copy on your website, your ZocDoc profile, your professional biography, as well as all your advertising materials across all channels should underline the distinguishing features of your medical practice. They should let your potential patients get a feeling of who you are, your personality, your aesthetics and how you would interact with them, so they can decide if you are the correct doctor for them.
Visuals play a large role in amplifying the written words. The pictures that you choose for your website and advertising helps to represent the personality of your healthcare practice. Stock photos of cheerful families, for example, can communicate the wholesome atmosphere of a family-run practice. Pictures of your parents or grandparents working in the same office can create a sense of pedigree and expertise. Showing off the latest medical equipment communicates that you, the medical specialist, are both up to date, as well as successful. And, of course, it is essential to have your own photo — every patient wants to know who their doctor is going to be.
Hire medical support staff who reflect your branding principles
Your medical practice is not just you. In fact, more often than not you are the last point of contact for your patients, after they have already interacted with your front-desk receptionist and support staff. Each of these interactions create an impression of your medical practice well before your prospective patients even meet you, so it is very important that you hire staff that share your core brand values and principles and that you train them to provide outstanding service.
Receptionists play a very large role in this regard since they often have to resolve most patient issues and conflicts. How they handle these situations can have a major impact on a patient’s perception of your medical practice. You should train your receptionists accordingly to make sure they form strong relationships with patients by being strong and yet helpful, solution-minded, kind, polite and empathetic.
Listen to your patients
There is no better way to understand what your medical practice is doing wrong than by listening to your patients. Patient feedback directly helps you figure out the issues that are leading to patient turnover, and how they can be improved.
Always ask your patients to give you feedback, and provide them an option to leave their feedback anonymously. Sometimes a small incentive such as a gift voucher or a raffle can help in soliciting feedback. The more input you receive from your patients, the more information you have to work with.
In conclusion, branding is about identifying your core values and differentiating factors, incorporating them across all parts of your practice, and communicating them accurately in your marketing materials. When your branding is consistent and true to yourself, it improves patient satisfaction and retention and helps form a mutually beneficial partnership.
Delivering outstanding patient care and medical service
Last, and most importantly, your best branding is ultimately your behaviour fuelling your actions. When your patients come to you for an appointment, they demand more than merely a diagnosis. Ultimately, your patients are seeking a doctor who truly cares. You need to educate your patients and keep them informed, treat them with respect, display a high standard of compassion and excellent bed-side manners.